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Lion Country Making Profits Without Lions

January 18, 1987|MARY ANN GALANTE | Times Staff Writer

After four years of mounting losses, Lion Country Safari Inc. reported net earnings of $39,640 for its fiscal 1986 third quarter ended Sept. 30, contrasted with a net loss of $275,423 for the year-ago period.

The Irvine-based company--which moved the wild animals out of its money-losing safari park 2 1/2 years ago in favor of a water-theme amusement park--said that revenues more than doubled to $484,500 from $229,974 for the third fiscal quarter of 1986.

For the first nine months of fiscal 1986, Lion Country said it lost $454,497, almost halving the net loss of $830,458 reported for the like period a year earlier. Nine-month revenues increased 46% to $732,094 from $501,580 a year earlier.

Harry Shuster, president and chairman, attributed about half of the increase in revenues to rents and fees from the operators of Wild Rivers at Lion Country, the water amusement facility that opened last summer on a portion of the defunct wild animal park. Lion Country receives income from the lease agreement with that park and from other tenants including Irvine Meadows, a 17,000-seat amphitheater, and Eagle Country, a picnic area that opened on the park grounds in May.

Name Change Planned

Lion Country Safari Inc., which holds the master lease, will change its name to United Leisure Corp. by the end of January, Shuster said.

Current plans call for profits from subleases at the Irvine site to be used to add half a dozen softball diamonds and a golf-driving range by June, Shuster said.

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